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Travel industry news

09 May 2019
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Post Office reveals Brits' attitude to exchange rates

Sterling rises in value against a range of currencies, but figures suggest Brits are now less concerned about exchange rates.

Pound and Euro coins, currency, exchange, Brexit

Over the past six months, the pound has risen in value against three-quarters of the Post Office’s 40 bestselling currencies, including the euro (up 3.3% compared with October 2018) and the US dollar (rising by 1.3%), and is stronger than a year ago against 20 of those bestselling currencies.


Despite negative headlines suggesting otherwise, consumer research for the Holiday Money Index reveals 65% of people are planning to holiday abroad in 2019, down one percentage point compared with 2018, and currency sales underline this trend.


Sterling’s biggest year-on-year gain of 34.3% was against the Turkish lira, giving holidaymakers £128 extra on a purchase of £500, while the pound is also stronger year-on-year against every European currency except the Swiss franc (down by 3%).


The biggest growth in currency sales has been for the Egyptian pound, where a 687% year-on-year rise in sales highlights the return of visitors to Egypt’s Red Sea resorts, despite this coinciding with sterling’s biggest year-on-year fall of 8.8% against the Egyptian pound.


In city break destinations, the pound’s gains of 3.1% against the Czech koruna and more than 5% for the Hungarian forint will please agents selling weekends to Prague and Budapest, while clients heading to Iceland will get 13.3% more Icelandic krona for their pound.


Sterling also remains stronger against the euro – up 2.2% year-on-year.

Number cruncher

65%

of Brits surveyed are planning to holiday abroad in 2019


77%

said resort costs for meals and drinks were more important than the value of sterling in their destination choice


55%

said sterling’s strength or weakness was the main factor in choosing where to go

However, Post Office Travel Money, which claims to account for a quarter of UK currency transactions, said its sales for 2019 up to the Easter Bank Holiday show some of the biggest purchase increases have been to long-haul destinations where sterling is “significantly weaker” than a year ago.


This is explained, says the Post Office, by UK holidaymakers becoming less concerned about exchange rates than about costs in-destination. Some 77% of the 2,087 people surveyed said resort costs for meals, drinks and other tourist items were a more important factor in destination choice, compared with only 55% who felt sterling’s strength or weakness was the deciding factor.


The Post Office said the low cost of living in Bali and Japan helped explain a surge in sales of the Indonesian rupiah (up 9%) and Japanese yen (up 12%) in 2019 to date.


A 44% year-on-year growth for the Trinidad & Tobago dollar comes after Tobago rated alongside St Lucia as the cheapest Caribbean island in the Post Office’s Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer. Yet, in common with the Barbados dollar (7.1% stronger against sterling year-on-year), the Trinidad & Tobago dollar is worth more against the pound (up 3%) than last April. Despite the weaker pound, sales of Caribbean currencies are generally on the rise with significant year-on-year increases of 9% for the Jamaican and Barbados dollars.


The Holiday Money Index found the best long-haul offering for budget-conscious tourists was South Africa, with the rand the Post Office’s eighth bestselling currency. Sterling was worth 9.6% more than in April last year, giving visitors an extra £44 on a £500 rand purchase.

Latest trends for the British Pound

Sterling against Turkish lira

Sterling’s biggest year-on-year gain of 34.3% was against the Turkish lira, giving £128 extra on a purchase of £500.

Egyptian pound sales

Largest growth in currency sales has been for the Egyptian pound, with a 687% year-on-year rise.

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